Seth Rogen sparks up the laughter with Bill Burr, Snoop, Post Malone and more at the Hollywood Bowl

A mere half-hour late start boded well for the highest-profile comedy, music, and marijuana-themed variety-benefit show of Netflix Is a Joke. May 1’s Bowl kickoff with Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Nate Bargatze, and Sebastian Maniscalco, for example, had tasked a jazz combo with killing 45 minutes before any stand-ups took center stage.

One week later, sporting a shiny black tuxedo and devilish grin, host Seth Rogen emerged with a oversized match to spark the three-story prop bong commissioned for the festival. As plume of smoke covered the stage, the white-tailed Hollywood Chamber Orchestra blasted “2001: A Space Odyssey” theme “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” and opening rapper Lil Dicky challenged Roseanne Barr for the most strained “Star-Spangled Banner” rendition of all time before launching into “Freaky Friday.”

“Even I think this is a little much! Weed’s legal; what am I trying to prove?” Rogen asked back onstage. His thoughts on the Drake-Kendrick Lamar beef — “You don’t hear defensive rapping that often. You don’t hear rap that’s like, ‘I “am” a good father! I “should not” be a registered sex offender!’” — were echoed by “Abbott Elementary” cast member Janelle James. “Men are happy right now,” she observed. “Sports and a rap battle happening at the same time? I caught my boyfriend skipping the other day! Men don’t get to be happy. They’re sitting around dissecting poetry, how lovely!”

From the beginning, the “almost” sold-out audience of 18,000 took happy advantage of the open-air event. A cool evening breeze grew increasingly fragrant and thick under the spotlights and trippy, rotating pastels.

Good vibes continued with “Daily Show” correspondent Ronny Chieng, who tailored his set specifically for the occasion. “It’s great to perform in legendary American venues like this where Dave Chappelle almost got murdered!” he enthused. “America is a country that puts show business above everything. This is how much we love show business in America: You guys remember 10 years ago when Seth Rogen made a movie about Kim Jung Un that almost destroyed the world? ‘The Interview’ almost caused global thermonuclear war! We kinda forgot about that, didn’t we? It was our generation’s Cuban Missile Crisis!”

Not much was being remembered at the moment, to be honest. Chieng helpfully revisited the production in minute-to-minute detail for most of his time, noting, “We almost destroyed the world for 59% on Rotten Tomatoes!” Also, “In Malaysia there’s a death penalty for smoking weed… everyone here would all be executed!”

Peabody Award and Golden Globe winner Ramy Youssef followed, the non-smoker cautioning, “I don’t think anyone here understands how much weed is being smoked backstage. I know you saw some of it out here, and this was nothing!”

An extended story about adopting a rescue dog had included references to autism and Harry Potter when Youssef suddenly realized “I’ve been up here too long! My time perception is distinctly… I’m high, I’m not gonna be rude, I’ve gotta go!” Which he very promptly and hilariously did.

“I don’t know if you know you are at a charity event right now,” Rogen checked in, offering thanks for the Netflix event and those aiding his Hilarity for Charity foundation combating Alzheimer’s. “Of all the shows at the Hollywood Bowl, this is the only one where the money goes to charity. Jerry Seinfeld kept the money, just know that, to buy one-sixteenth of a f— Porsche!”

Immediately after, a surprise eight-song set from Post Malone (“Better Now,” “Psycho,” “Chemical”) got the crowd on its feet, who agreed that yep, it felt hella good to be stretching around, plus standing up was totally better for watching the colorful lasers and bursting pyrotechnics anyway. Ooooh, fire!

Surprise comedy guest Bill Burr followed “Congratulations” with a few minutes up top about Hollywood pedophiles and decrying cancel culture. Right around the time he mentioned punching a baby, the scene shifted to the women’s restroom: clean, minimal foot traffic, the floor painted a mossy, foresty green that looked way more soft and spongy than concrete has any right to look. Don’t bother trying to touch it. And wash your hands. Back and safely seated, Burr was continuing, “You’d better have a Black guy in the trunk, or you, sir, are in trouble!”

Nearing the unconventional benefit’s end, Rogen announced a hot tip: The Hollywood Chamber Orchestra’s trumpet player wasn’t merely one of the best trumpet players alive, but the guy responsible for the “Jeopardy” theme song! The Bowl grooved its ass off to both the classic jam and a new, “sexy smooth jazz version” before losing its collective mind for final act Snoop Dogg, his “The Next Episode”’s refrain to “Smoke weed everyday!” and the call and response of “Nothin’ But a G Thang.” Plus how does it get any better than “Gin and Juice” for charity?

Lighting up a joint, Snoop took a spin directizzing the orchestrizzle and giving props to the musicians, “Give it up for my band!”

L.A. becoming home to the largest comedy festival in America reminds fans how lucky it feels to exist amid the most important, innovative, genre-busting live performers of our time. Amazing musical moments like the conclusion of Seth Rogen Smokes the Bowl with Snoop rapping hip-hop classics “Jump Around,” “Drop it Like It’s Hot,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name?),” an orchestral “Zarathustra” reprise and a shower of celebratory fireworks remind us how far we’re capable of going… and growing.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top